How to get an NHS dentist appointment during COVID-19

Routine dental care has had to change because of COVID-19, with social distancing rules making it difficult to access services. Here’s some information on how to access an NHS dentist during the pandemic.
a tooth

Updated on 08/01/20

As during the last period of national restrictions, dental services are to remain open and see patients.

This should be in line with the standard operating procedure and the national dental infection prevention control appendix.

The Government guidance on the national lock down says,

"The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists". 

How do I find a dentist? 

To get the help you need you can: 

  • Visit the NHS website 
  • Phone your local dentist to get information about their opening hours and advice on where you can go to get the care you need 
  • If you don’t have a dentist or your dentist is closed, you can phone NHS 111. Translation services are available.  
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing visit https://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111

Do not visit a dentist without an appointment. 

Practices will need to prioritise their patients based upon their needs. The British Dental Association advises:

  • If you call to make an appointment, you will be asked some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment 
  • You will probably be asked to use hand sanitiser or to wash your hands when you arrive (and again before you leave) 
  • Social distancing measures will be in place in the waiting rooms 
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.

I need urgent dental assistance – what can I do? 

For urgent advice on any oral health issue you can call: 

  • NHS 111 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) 
  • Call the dental helpline at 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK) for free and impartial advice between 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
Dentistry is an essential medical service, not an optional extra. Patients need to and deserve to see their dental teams and the vaccine rollout is another important next step in the fight against COVID-19 and restoring NHS dentistry.
— Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer England and Eric Rooney and Jason Wong, Deputy Chief Dental Officers

Tell us your story

Has your dental care been disrupted by COVID-19 and its impact on health and social care services? Whether it’s good or bad, we want to hear from you.

It only takes five minutes and your feedback can help NHS and social care services understand the steps they can take to improve care for you and your loved ones.

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